North Tawton 12 - Tavistock 50

NORTH Tawton welcomed League winners Tavistock to Taw Meadows for their final game of the season.

Congratulations to Tavistock for their promotion and winning the league and we wish you all the best for next season.

North Tawton knew that nothing short of a bonus point win would give them the slimmest chance of avoiding relegation but the players took to the field with confidence and an intent to show why they believe they deserved to remain in the league. 

A minute’s applause was observed before kick off in memory of long serving committee member and groundsman Paul Ankcorn who recently passed away.

A great man who has been part of the club for many years and our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We would also like to thank Rob Campbell who is an ex North Tawton player for sponsoring the game.

The opening few minutes saw the Tawts start more positively than the visitors with a few heavy carries in the Tavistock half and some rush defence to put pressure on any kicks to clear.

The big boot of the Tavistock 10 did a good job of making territory and finally put Tavistock play in the middle of the park. 

On the seven minute mark North Tawton scored their first try of the game after a few heavy carries in the corner.

The ball made its way out to Liam Pyle who saw Matty Dennis making an excellent running line to cut through the Tavistock defence and score just left of the posts. The conversion successful, the score 7-0.

From the restart Tavistock started to look more threatening with ball in-hand. The Tavistock scrum half pulled the strings for his side and created gaps for the attack to expose. Tavistock got their first try of the game on the 15-minute mark which was unconverted, the score 7-5. 

The next 15-minutes were particularly level in terms of attack and defence. The home side’s backs were trying to get some pace in the game but the wet conditions were making it difficult with the occasional knock on but there were some big carries from the pack.

Tavistock were more clinical, ball in-hand and the big boot of their number 10 was making life a little difficult for the back three. 

North Tawton conceded a particularly harsh try on the half-hour mark. Tavistock got the ball out wide to their winger who broke down the left hand side. The scrambling defence got to him as he was diving for the corner and the Tavistock linesman called the player to have been tackled into touch before the ball was put down.

The try, however, was awarded much to the disappointment of the home team and crowd. The conversion unsuccessful the score now 7-10. 

The Tawts tried to get back into the game and were awarded a scrum in the middle of the pitch.

An unsuccessful move from the backs was unfortunately fumbled and the Tavistock Nine managed to grubber kick the ball to the Tawts try line and score their third try of the day. The conversion successful, the score 7-17.

With two minutes to go the Tawts found themselves under pressure again. A good turn over and the big boot or Gary Sizmur got the home side half-way up the pitch.

The Tawts won the line out and found themselves awarded with another penalty which Gary Sizmur was able to kick just shy of the Tavi five-metre line.

Following a few hard carries and almost carrying the ball over the try line, Scrum half Ryan Gross went to the blindside where winger James Bowden was waiting to touch over in the corner. The conversion unsuccessful, the half-time score 12-17. 

The second half unfortunately did not offer as much joy for the Tawts as the first half did.

Not long after the restart Tavistock’s hooker found himself charging down the left side to score in the corner. The conversion missed, the score 12-22. 

Although the Tawts tried to regroup, Tavistock began to show why they had won the league and their number nine started to cut through the home sides defence.

Shortly after he made a great solo run to go under the posts to add to his impressive season tally and took the score to 12-29. 

For the middle part of the second half the Tawts did get a few good phases of play going with the likes of Simon Quick, James Miller and Tom Chisholm causing problems for the Tavistock defence.

Just as it looked like they were about to mount another good attack in the Tavistock half a fumbled ball was yet again grubber kicked down the pitch by Tavistock.

As the kicking Tavistock player slid over the line to score the try, the crowd and North Tawton players called for a clear knock on as he did. Unfortunately the luck was not with the Tawts today and the try was awarded and the home side were shown a yellow card for their protests. The try was converted, the score now 12-36. 

The final 15 minutes was made even more difficult for the home side as a result of the yellow card.

The game became extremely scrappy and although at times the Tawts managed to win some turn overs and the occasional break in open play, the extra Tavistock player counted and the away side were able to run in two more tries which were converted. The final score finishing 12-50 to Tavistock. 

Although Tavistock deserved to win the game, the score line did not reflect the performance on the pitch and at half-time North Tawton were certainly in the game and luck was not on their side. Tavistock’s number nine was the difference and they will need to keep hold of him going forward. 

The result now means that North Tawton have unfortunately been relegated from the league.

However, I would just like to take a moment to congratulate the players on a well contested season.

Unlike other teams in the league North Tawton have always been in games and on more than a handful of occasions have lost the game by a converted try or less. We never forfeited a game and always fielded a full team. 

Although the team are going to be competing in a different league next season, the club will bounce back!

Morale has never been low and with the right attitude and commitment by the committee, players and supporters, the club can achieve great things.

Several players were hampered with injuries this year and it would be great to see them and some old faces come back and give it another go. We go again and rebuild. 

The season is not quite over as this weekend North Tawton play Exeter Saracens in this year’s cup at home.

Jabby Fewings